By Andrew Shain
Statements from the S.C. political world on the passing of former South African president Nelson Mandela, who died Thursday at age 95.
Gov. Nikki Haley: "There are no words to describe the impact Nelson Mandela had not just on his country but on the world. May we all continue to learn from his courage, his grace, and his incomparable strength." (Her statement included this quote from Mandela: "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.")
Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin: "The cause of justice and equality has lost one of its greatest champion's tonight and I have lost one of my personal heroes. I was a junior at the University of South Carolina campaigning for student body president when we learned that Nelson Mandela had finally been released and I remember how the gravity and pure joy of that moment washed over all of us. Years later, I had the rare opportunity to visit his home in Soweto and the 8' x 7' concrete cell on Robbin Island where he was imprisoned for decades to try and gain a greater understanding of the magnitude of his personal sacrifice and struggle. Yet while we mourn this loss with the people of South Africa and freedom loving peoples all across the world, his example of unflinching courage and determination lives on and will continue to inspire us all to stand tall in the face of adversity and to be bigger and better than we ever dreamed possible."
U.S. Sen. Tim Scott, R-North Charleston: "Nelson Mandela was a transformational figure, a man who truly changed the world. He walked a long road to freedom and embraced the fundamental human belief in equality. After his release from prison, his tireless work to reconcile a nation torn apart by centuries of tension and hostility made him one of history's greatest statesmen. All freedom-loving people mourn his passing."
S.C. Democratic Party chairman Jaime Harrison: "Nelson Mandela was a remarkable man who dedicated his life to peacefully fighting for civil rights. With his inspiring courage, he changed the world as we know it. Through violent opposition, arrests, jail time and personal struggles Mr. Mandela maintained his commitment to non-violence, ending apartheid and effecting change in a way that the world had not seen since Dr. Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement. Nelson Mandela has been an inspiration for the ages and though he will be missed, his legacy lives on. We mourn the loss of such a visionary leader, and our thoughts and prayers are with his family and all those who loved him."
U.S. Rep. Jeff Duncan, R-Laurens: "Every so often God places upon the Earth an individual with the power to change humanity's destiny for the better. One of those very special people was Nelson Mandela. His compassion, grace, and mercy created ripples across every corner of the globe. His fight for equality and justice for all mankind helped to further ingrain on our souls the truth that we are all born with the right to be free. Nelson Mandela set an example that we would be wise to follow for all time, and tonight the world is collectively mourning this loss."